Wow, Don Draper. You certainly do know how to turn a girl's stomach. In this episode, we learn that Don doesn't being stuck in a private plane with Ted Shaw, but he does like keeping his mistress trapped in a hotel room.
Did I ever tell you about the time I was the Red Baron? No? It was 1917 and I was a young, idealistic enlisted man who believed in what we were fighting for. Little did I know that the war was the product of cynical men and it ushered in a cynical time...In fact, this whole episode is about people being trapped in things. Pete's mom has Alzheimer's and she ends up trapped at his skeezy bachelor pad.
Oh, and Bobby Kennedy gets shot. But you knew that was coming.
So then I said to her, "Stay here naked until I get back." And she did. These chicks, man. They kill me.
So, Don's headed to work one day. Or coming back from work. I don't know which and frankly, I don't really care. He hears Sylvia and Arnie Rosen having an epic argument, and Arnie's suitcase is in the hallway. Don listens to them argue, makes a sadface and presses the "Close the fucking door now button" before Arnie can storm out and catch Don eavesdropping.
At Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Alphabet Soup (new firm name TBA), there's crap everywhere. It's like Welcome Week on a college campus.
Head Secretary Partner Joan is in charge of assigning female secretaries to their male bosses, but she takes a break to escort Peggy to her new office. Which has her name on it. In Magic Marker.
Oh, if only we were so lucky.
Really, Don could drive himself up there and take care of binnis by his own bad self, or at least have some time to get the hell away from all of you people. Pete's girl, Clara, pops in to let Pete know there's an urgent call for him, and Pete leaves the office to deal with his batty mother. Pete's mom is at Pete's apartment, which is where Pete still lives because he's not allowed home.
Pete's ma is demanding of Pete's maint guy that she be allowed to see Pete's pop because she's convinced that Pete's dad is having an affair. Only problem is that Pops is real dead. Like real, real dead. Pete tells the maint guy to keep Mom liquored up with G&T until he can get there. Pete's brother is Bud sick of taking care of Ma, and he tells Pete it's Pete's turn. Bro of course does not know that Pete is persona non grata with Trude and that they're separated.
Bud's wife is Judy! Not Trudy!
Don welcomes Peggy back to the fold and gives his regards to Bert Peterson, who gets fired by Roger in the following scene. Nobody knows where Don's secretary Dawn is, so when freaking Sylvia calls, she gets Don directly. Since Arnie's flown the coop, she tells him she will spread like buttah for him if he comes over straightaway. Much in the manner of unoriginal hook-ups everywhere, Don agrees to meet her at a hotel at 12:30 for some nibbles.
And this is the point where Don goes off the rails. He has sex with Sylvia and it's gross and awkward and whatnot, but then, sensing lack of control in other areas of his life, he starts ordering Sylvia around. He tells her to get on the floor and crawl over to his shoes, and she refuses, but brings him his shoes and puts them on him. Then he tells her to take off her clothes and get into bed. Sylvia seems a little weirded out, but she plays along. She expects Don to undrape, but Don remains draped and heads back into work, leaving Sylvia alone in the hotel room, with orders for her not to go anywhere. Which she for some reason obeys.
Well, it's news to me that you don't respect me, Don. Frankly, I am shocked.
Over at the office, where people are doing, you know, WORK, creative is working on margarine. Peggy can't find Dawn/Don (neither black nor white, thanks, Ted), and Ted wants to do a "rap session" with the kids in creative to "free associate" about margarine. It's yellow. It spreads easy.
Nutritious, delicious frankenfat.
Peggy puts her useless margarine trivia knowledge to use and mentions that Napoleon III invented margarine as a way to feed his troops because it doesn't spoil. That is actually true. That actually happened. Can we get this girl on Jeopardy? But Ted's hearing a lot about bread. Less bread. More spread. Don waltzes in and Ted is pissed because Don was forty minutes late to the meeting. Don takes his toast into his office and makes a creepy stalker call to Sylvia at the hotel. He orders her to wait there, with no idea of when he'll be back. Then he tells her not to answer the phone again. Sylvia starts some personal buttah time and he calls again. She follows his orders and doesn't answer, and this turns her on in a weird way. It's like phone sex tag. Or phone tag sex. Or something. Anyway, buttah.
Don barges into Ted's office with some booze and wants to talk margarine. Ostensibly, it's a peace offering, but Don really wants to get Ted shitfaced because Don can drink the entire merged staff under the table. Don comes up with a campaign strategy for margarine, and Ted falls asleep at the creative table.
At Pete's, Bud shows up and refuses to take Ma home. Bud's mad about a business deal of Bud's Pete didn't take him up on forever ago, and Bud won't take Ma back. Ma's place is apparently condemned because she won't clean it anymore, and Bud tells Pete it's his turn. Judy (with a J) won't deal with Mother anymore after Mother smacked her with a tea towel. She's had it. Plain had it. Pete orders Mother to say at his apartment.
Sylvia isn't creeped out at this point by strange knocks on her door, so she opens the door to Room 503 thinking she will find Lil Dickie Whitman, but instead she finds a box from Saks. She opens it and it's a swank red dress, which she can presumably don. Pun intended. Don swaggers in and Sylvia thinks they're going out, but instead he tells Sylvia to take off the dress. Instead of running screaming out of the room, she does it, while Don watches her with this creepy evil self loathingy hatredy look in his eyes. Anyway, it gave me the irks. Then he goes home and goes to sleep next to the sleeping, clueless Megan. Nice job, Don.
Don's new special work mug?
Joan began today's festivities by puking into a trash can. Her vomiting is interrupted by likely serial killer (or at least planning a hostile takeover of the company), Bob Benson. Joan thinks she has food poisoning, but sister is in pain. Bob convinces Joan to let him help her out of the building and to the hospital. He calls a babysitter for Kevvy and scams the apathetic ER nurse into letting Joan, you know, see a doctor. Bob seems like kind of a decent guy, but then you have to remember that no one on this show is a decent person. I can't tell if he's helping Joan because he's a good person, or if he's taking advantage of an opportunity to gain a partner's loyalty because he knows the merger is creating redundancies. In either case, it's nice to see a man not treat Joan like shit for a change.
Hungover Ted's at the hospital visiting Frank the next morning. Things do not look so great for Frank. As we recall, Frank has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and he is failing, despite Ted's chipper can-do attitude that Frank can beat it. Ted admits to Frank that Don pwned him, but Frank's advice to Ted is for him not to fight Don because Don will tire himself out more quickly, because Don views Ted as more of a threat to his roost than Ted views Don.
Peggy is lying in wait in Don's office. She tells him this is a Shut The Door type of convo and berates him for getting Ted drunk at work. I also really dig her outfit in this scene. Peggy's of course still twitterpated with Ted, because of both before and after zees:
Shut the front door!
Don tells Peggy she's adorably angry, pats her on the head and tells her it's just work. Peggy's still angry with Don because he doesn't respect her (WELL, DUH, YOU ARE AFTER ALL FEMALE), so she leaves and slams the door. I love how Peggy takes Don's assholery so personally, when really he is horrible to everyone. Doth the lady protest too much? Oh, she doth. She so doth.
Still no sign of Dawn. She's probably tired of everyone awkwardly hugging her.
Pete's in Harry's office bitching about how he has no clients when Clara comes in and tells him that there's an emergency at his place with Mother. Mother has set his apartment on fire and he must leave the office, presumably to swat her with a tea towel. This means Don is stuck flying up to Albany in a biplane with Ted at the helm. Don clutches at his book for some semblance of
mommy control and security while Ted lets Don know that there is a mutha fuckin bad ass on this mutha fuckin plane.
Bob Benson visits Joan and her mother thinks he is a Very Nice Young Man. And so handsome! And single! And successful! JOAN. Joan had a cyst all up in her lady bits, but she is perfectly fine. Joan's mom wants Joan to get together with Bob, but Joan sayeth she isn't interested. Then she saves him from the chopping block during a partners' meeting, and they let some other poor sap go instead of Bob. Well played, Bob. Well played.
Pete's pissed (again...yawn) when Clara informs him that Don and Ted went up to chat with Henry LaMonte and Mohawk and whoever and things are all cool. Pete had to miss the meeting because Mother is a pyro. He cries and stamps his feet because things are not going his way.
Over at the Hotel Amores Creepos, Sylvia doesn't want to spend another day naked in bed and tells Don she's not hanging around there all day while he goes out and saves the world and she plays blow-up doll. Finally, she tells him that they are done and she is going to ask Arnie to come home. After letting a man degrade her for a day and a half, Sylvia puts her stiletto down. Woo-hoo. Female empowerment. So, in a futile attempt to control someone in a world gone mad, Don learns the futility of his efforts and his existence. Le sigh.
One awkward elevator ride later and Sylvia walks into her apartment and Don reluctantly goes back to his. He finds Megan there, chattering away about a vacation she wants to take. Don listens politely, but tunes her out.
Later that night, at Pete's, Mother interrupts Pete's slumber by letting him know that Bobby Kennedy has been shot. Pete dismisses it as her confused rambling, mistaking JFK for Bobby. Pete's self-absorbed nature is at its full height in this episode with his obviously ailing mother-- begrudgingly helping her when she is unable to think clearly and dismissing her during her one lucid moment.
The next morning, Megan is watching the television coverage of Bobby Kennedy's assassination and crying. Don walks in and sits on the bed, looking totally helpless. Is he thinking that he knows he doesn't love Megan and that maybe he should do the gentlemanly thing and let her go? Is he regretting how he treated Sylvia? Is he bothered by Bobby Kennedy's death? Is it all three? None?
Or perhaps something more pernicious? Perhaps he's having a vision of the future?
Coming soon (in fabulous Technicolor) to a television near you.
At least there's still the Chevy account.
Damn, it's good to be a gangsta.
Also, did you know that Death Cab is doing an Oreos commercial now? Oh, the things you learn when you watch Mad Men.
Update: I have been informed that the Oreo music video marketed directly to hipsters is by Owl City. WELL YOU SOUND LIKE FUCKING BEN GIBBARD.